Discover the kind of view that make the California coastline famous—rocky reefs, rugged headlands, and the Pacific surf—between Muir Beach and Stinson Beach. Drive along Highway 1 (also known locally as Shoreline Highway) from Mill Valley to Point Reyes, and you will discover Rocky Point, one of the area’s many scenic sites of spectacular coastline.
Two miles north of Muir Beach on Highway 1, an unassuming driveway leads to Slide Ranch. This small demonstration farm and environmental education center is also one of five major tide pool exploration spots in the Bay Area. For those who prefer goats and chickens over tide pool life, Slide Ranch offers environmental and farm education programs between February and November.
- Steep Ravine descends from Mount Tamalpais to the Rocky Point coast, and ends at a small, sandy beach. You can hike down to the beach from the sign-posted gate, two miles south of Stinson, on Highway 1.
- On the other side of Highway 1, the Steep Ravine Trail climbs up a lush, narrow canyon filled with redwoods and waterfalls to Pantoll Station.
- Enjoy an overnight stay in one of Steep Ravine’s oceanfront cabins or campsites (reservations are mandatory for these popular sites, and take patience and persistence to make).
Slide Ranch’s tide pools are part of the Golden Gate National Parks’ extensive intertidal zone, one filled with urchins, anemones, sea stars, and other fascinating creatures. Many organisms have developed special adaptive behaviors to help them survive in the challenging conditions of changing tides.
Among the rarest of tide pool creatures is the nudibranch, a sea slug belonging to the suborder Nudibranchiasea. This sea slug is not a short, fat, slimy worm, but the ocean’s equivalent of a butterfly. The best times to see this amazing and exquisite creature are in the summer and fall. (You are invited to explore here, but collecting is prohibited.)